If you have served our country in a branch of the armed services, we thank you for your service! Your experience and expertise in a military role has uniquely qualified you to serve our government in the civil service. Because of your devotion and commitment to our country, the government takes your veteran status into consideration if you apply to a federal position. You should use this to your advantage.
To be eligible for Veterans’ Preference, you must have been discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces under honorable conditions. To receive Veterans’ Preference when applying for a job, you must demonstrate proper documentation of your eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” is preferable.
Veterans’ Preference gives you preferred status in appointment over other applicants. This applies to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service but it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements. It is important to note that Veterans’ Preference will not guarantee you a job.
When applying for a position in the competitive service, veterans’ preference can be applied either via category rating or through the point system at the agency’s discretion.
The category rating system places candidates into larger buckets, such as ‘qualified’ and ‘well-qualified’, according to their job qualifications. Within this system, veterans are placed at the top of their category, and veterans with service-connected disabilities are looked at first.
Within the point system, there are two levels of preference for veterans: five- and ten-point eligibility. Five-point eligibility adds five points to the final test scores of veterans whose active service duties meets certain criteria. A veteran is eligible for a ten-point preference if they have a service-connected disability or received a purple heart. If claiming this preference, you will need to submit the Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference (SF-15).
Agencies have additional flexibility when using special hiring authorities designed for veterans. These hiring authorities may simplify the traditionally lengthy hiring process. The Office of Personnel Management encourages veterans seeking positions to ask for consideration under as many hiring authorities as they qualify for. We have highlighted a few of these authorities specific to veterans below, though FedsHireVets has additional information.
The Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment allows agencies to directly hire veterans without competition for a two-year term position. After successfully completing that period, the veteran may be converted to a career or career-conditional appointment.
The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act is used to fill permanent, competitive service positions. This authority allows veterans to apply to announcements only open to “status” candidates, or those who are current competitive service employees.
While not specifically for veterans, you are eligible to apply for positions under Schedule A if you have a severe physical, psychological or intellectual disability.
StudentVeterans.org offers information on policy, as well as updates on news, programs and scholarships.
Fedshirevets.gov provides a directory of Veteran Employment Program Offices throughout the government. These offices are responsible for promoting veterans’ recruitment, employment, training and development, and retention within their respective agencies. It also has specific information about how veterans’ family members may qualify for preference.